With the composite construction method, economical and sustainable structures can be realized using optimized cross-sections for columns, beams, and floor elements. It enables the realization of architecturally sophisticated load-bearing structures through intelligent combination of different materials. It is increasingly used in complex and highly loaded structures, such as high-rise buildings, but also in other sectors such as infrastructure and bridges. While the term composite construction basically covers all structures in which at least two materials are combined in such a way that the material properties of the respective material are exploited to the maximum, in construction practice the term is most strongly associated with steel-concrete composite construction.

7 m long composite girder – loaded state of continuous system(left) 3D-FE-model of composite beam with web openings in ABAQUS (right)

At the Institute of Structural Concrete of RWTH Aachen University, intensive research carried out in the area of composite construction in order to further increase the applicability of this construction method. Practical issues, such as the design of composite beams with large web openings or minimizing the overall height of composite beams and slabs with the help of high-strength materials and innovative flat composite dowels, are the subject of current research. The use of high-strength materials outside the range of Eurocode 4 can significantly increase the competitiveness of composite cross sections. The latter includes the derivation of new design models that enable the most efficient yet safe design possible. In cooperation with other institutes, in particular the Institute of Steel Construction of RWTH Aachen University, these and other open questions in the field of composite construction are investigated by means of experimental and theoretical research. To ensure transfer to practice, the research work is supported by in-depth discussions with experienced engineers from the projects' accompanying expert groups.

The tasks in the research area composite construction include:

-   Acquisition of research and industry projects incl. submission of proposals
-   Experimental investigation of small and large-scale composite elements
-   Numerical investigations using finite element software
-   Derivation of analytical models and design approaches
-   Method development for the production of innovative components, for experimental investigations and for evaluation of tests
-   Participation in technical committees and working groups to advance codes and technical regulations
-   Presentation of results at national and international conferences and in technical journal
-   Assistance in undergraduate and graduate teaching


„Angelina“ composite beam with web openings https://archello.com/product/angelina-beams(left) High-rise building in realized in composite construction (photo: Prof. Terri Meyer Boake, University of Waterloo, Canada) (right)

Selected projects in the research area composite construction: